Bluegrass singer Kathy Kallick is not only known through her work with the Kathy Kallick Band, which has been one of the premiere bluegrass bands in the nation for years, but also through her lifetime of work as a pioneering woman of bluegrass. As a founding member of the band Good Ol’ Persons, Kallick was one of the first professional women in bluegrass, and over the years has become a knowledgeable mentor to many other artists. Kathy Kallick has won a Grammy and two IBMA Awards, received a Lifetime Membership from the California Bluegrass Association, appeared on three high-profile Rounder collections of bluegrass songs by women, written and recorded award-winning music for children and families, and toured the world.
Kathy has recently released her new record, Foxhounds, which happens to be Kallick’s 20th studio album, and features excellent musicianship complementing story-filled original songs. Kallick is joined by Annie Staninec on fiddle, Tom Bekeny on mandolin, Greg Booth on dobro and banjo, and Cary Black on bass. Everyone in the band sings. The album includes seven Kathy Kallick originals, including “So Danged Lonesome”, “Snowflakes,” “Longest Day Of the Year”, “I’m Not Your Honey-Baby Now”, and “In Texas”. Kathy’s true devotion to the tradition of bluegrass shines through as she covers tunes by greats like Bill Monroe, Mac Martin, and Flatt & Scruggs, and also shows an adventurous side as with a rollicking cover of Richard Thompson’s “Tear-Stained Letter.” Foxhounds is fresh and original, and Bluegrass at its purest.
The record opens with the fiddle driven “Foxhounds”, which obviously is the title track of the album. “So Dang Lonesome” follows the fiddle-driven pattern that “Foxhounds” started. The track is rooted in soul, which is evident in Kallick’s soulful vocal delivery. It’s definitely one of the highlights of the record. “I’m Not Your Honey Baby Now” features an energetic fiddle and banjo, as the narrator declares that she’s done with the relationship and that she’s not his honey baby anymore. The fiddle picks up its pace again on “Sally Ann”, an ode to a beautiful girl named Sally Ann. The song finds the narrator trying to woo her and talk her into going away with him in the chorus.
The evocative “Snowflakes” is pure folk, and as beautiful lyrically as it is instrumentally. “Longest Day of the Year” is another pure folk track, and keeps the slower pace that “Snowflakes” had. Both songs are beautiful in their own way, with “Longest Day of the Year” reminiscing about past memories that took place on the longest day of the year. The fiddle and banjo play at rapid speeds on “Rascoe”, a toe-tapping instrumental track that highlights the excellent musicianship on the record. The instrumental “Kentucky Mandolin” is a beautiful and captivating dance between the fiddle and the mandolin.
Foxhounds closes out with the Spanish flavored “In Texas”, a melancholy-laced tale of heartbreak and bad luck, all taking place in Texas. It’s the perfect way to round an excellent Bluegrass record. I’d recommend this record to anyone looking for great new Bluegrass/Folk music. It was definitely an enjoyable listen!
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